Tag Archives: bike travel

Le P’tit Train du Nord-Day 6 (Sainte-Adele to Mont Tremblant)

16 Jul

 

 

A peek out the balcony door told us it was raining this morning.  To the right of the photo is a mountain in the distance, and it was covered with mist, obscuring the summit.  We got ready, went down to breakfast and hoped the skies would clear by the time we were ready to ride.

We had a special server this morning.  The daughter of the innkeeper was helping her mom today, and as she placed our food before us, she said very sweetly, “Bon Apetit!”

 

We finished breakfast packed up our gear and headed out.  The rain had stopped and the skies were soon clear.  Even though we had begun our trip back to the truck, covering territory already seen, I still took lots of pictures.  There were too many beautiful sights to capture them on the first time through. I took some repeat photos for sure, but I took more photos of scenes I hadn’t captured on the way down.  We allowed ourselves a little more time to explore the areas right off the trail.  In several places, there were pathways or footbridges down to the water level or across a stream.  We took the time to explore those today, seeing the beautiful scenery from a different vantage point.

 

 

 

I noticed more wild blueberries today, though they aren’t quite ripe yet, more wild raspberries which are ripe, so I ate a few, and lots of wild asparagus. As we neared the town of Val-David, we met another couple at one of the depot stops and they told us there was a big farmer’s market at Val-David today with it being Saturday.

We pedaled into Val-David right around lunch time stored our bikes in front of the depot and walked to the farmer’s market in town.  There was such a variety of produce, meats, and cheeses.

 

After walking up and down each row of vendors, we decided to buy some things for our lunch. We bought a smoked French baguette, a pint of fresh raspberries, a chunk of locally made cheese, Jimmy bought some kind of homemade sausage on a stick (which he made into a hotdog by putting it in the baguette) a 3 pack of cocoa balls, and some kind of green drink that the vendor assured would rejuvenate our tired legs and allow us to ride several more miles.  It contained honey, bananas, and spirulina (which I just Googled and found out is seaweed? I had no idea…guess that explains the green color). It was really good. We paid for our selections and took them to a picnic table in a shady spot in front of the depot.

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All of the makings for a fine picnic

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Beautiful fresh raspberries

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Jimmy made a hotdog and I made a cheese sandwich

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Back onto the bikes to pedal the rest of the way to Mont Tremblant, where we will stay tonight. The temperature was warmer today than it has been, around 78 or 80 degrees, but still very nice with low humidity, but we were ready for a break and a cold drink.  We came into a little town with a trailside cafe.  We sat out on the deck, overlooking the bike trail, and the server asked us what we would like to order.  He spoke English very well and immediately switched from French to English once he knew who he was dealing with.  We asked about the cold drinks, not really settling on anything in particular.  Jimmy jokingly asked if they happened to have brewed iced tea. (What is called iced tea in Canada is either a very fruity sweet drink with maybe a little herbal tea, or it’s a can of iced tea that’s about half lemonade and very sweet).  He said, “iced tea? No we do not have iced tea. ” He said, “are you Americans?!”  We said yes, and he said, “I always forget that about Americans.  When I go there and I drink the tea, I say to myself, what is this?  No sugar?” (Obviously he hasn’t drank iced tea in the South)

But he continued, “You know what?  I think I can make you some tea.  I’m going to try it OK?”  He said, “I will infuse some tea, I will use a little lemon, and I will bring you some ice.” We said sure, that would be great.  He left and was busy with a couple of other tables but every time he passed our table, he would say, just a minute, it’s almost done.

Before long, he brought out a tray with a pitcher of tea, two glasses of ice with straws, and presented it with a flourish.

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It was delicious and so refreshing with the ice and lemon.  It wasn’t American style tea, I’m pretty sure he used an herbal tea, but we couldn’t have been happier, and he was quite proud of himself as well. He said that was the first time he’d made tea, and he might suggest to his boss that they add it to the menu…for the Americans!

We finished up our mileage (around 31 miles today) with the boost from the ice cold tea, and arrived at our B and B, a beautiful place in the woods where we have a view of deer feeding out of a trough the innkeeper fills with corn.

We are out of town by a few miles, so we used a taxi to get to a restaurant in town, called C’est la Vie.  We were seated outdoors on the deck and presented with menus.  Our server told us they are known for their hot stone cooking, so we had to give that a try.  He explained that we would choose our meat and that it would be brought out raw with a lava stone slab heated to 600 degrees F.  Why not? It was a lot of fun and the server gave us pointers on how to properly cook the meat.  The stone remained very hot throughout the meal.  He recommended that we sear the steak on each side for one minute, then move it off the stone onto the wood and, then cut off bite sized pieces and cook them individually to the desired doneness.  Surprisingly, they cooked very quickly.  Also served with the meal was a selection of cooked vegetables hot enough to eat, or they could be caramelized  on the stone with the meat.

 

It was very entertaining and absolutely delicious.  I asked the server if this was a technique specific to this area, and he said no, to Europe, but specifically Germany. Lol! The meal included dessert and French pressed coffee (of course!).  Tiramisu for Jimmy and sugar tart for me.  I asked the server to describe sugar tart, and he said it is the most famous dessert of the region, he said it is like a brown sugar pie, so I had to try it.  Both were served with a ground cherry on top, something I’d never tried before, but had seen earlier at the farmer’s market.  He said ground cherries grow in abundance in the area. They were really good. Perfect ending to a lovely day on Le P’tit Train du Nord. (The Little Train of the North)

 

Trails and Beaver Tails (Day 5; Sainte-Adele to Saint-Jerome and back)

15 Jul

Sadly, we only have two days of riding/trail exploring left. Today’s ride covered the remaining segment of trail we hadn’t seen yet. Tomorrow we will begin our two day trek back to the truck. Today’s route took us from Sainte-Adele, where we stayed at Auberge de la Gare B and B, to Saint-Jerome, where we ate lunch, then headed back to the B and B. It was a 42 mile round trip.

Breakfast was delicious.  We were given a choice of French Toast or Belgian Waffles.  We both went with the waffles! They were served with a yogurt, granola, fruit parfait and a strawberry smoothie.

The day was sunny and clear and we found ourselves stopping quite often for photos.  The scenery here is just too much for our eyes to take in.  One of the great things about the Le P’tit Train Du Nord linear parc is that it travels along lakes, rushing streams, and rivers for much of its length.  There’s no shortage of photo opportunities as you can see from the pictures below.

I was excited to spot wild blueberries alongside the trail, just beginning to ripen.  More food for the bears!

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We stopped along the trail at a couple of the restored depots for a water break.  One was housing a display of artwork by local artists, and we talked to the artist for a few minutes as we looked at their paintings.  The other depot still looked very much the way it did in the early part of the last century, and two gentlemen were staffing a little kitchen offering muffins and coffee for a small donation.  It is fortunate that the old train stations have been saved.  They are certainly an asset to the trail users and to the communities.

As we travelled south, we got closer and closer to Montreal.  The trail left the pristine wilderness and entered a more urban area.

Our goal was to reach Saint-Jerome, about as close to Montreal as we cared to go on bike. The old train depot in Saint-Jerome still stands, a lovely stone building, and it, like all the others we’ve seen, has been restored and repurposed as a tourist info center.  The planters in front of the station were full of beautiful flowers, including black petunias.

We ate at a cafe with outdoor seating right across from the train station.  We both ordered the lunch special, which included a sandwich, soup, and drink.  I ordered my first soft drink on this trip, and it was brought out in a can with a tiny bit of ice in the glass, as is common in Europe.

After lunch, we headed back away from Montreal and toward our B and B.  Since we were at this B and B for two nights, we were able to leave some of our gear there.  We were about half way back to the B and B when we decided we needed an ice cream break.  We stopped at one of the old depots, and asked the gentleman staffing it if he knew of a place to get ice cream.  He pointed us to a building right around the corner. I took a picture of this sign hanging in the depot, that visitors of any language could understand!

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The menu at the ice cream shop, was entirely in French of course, but we were thankful that every menu item had pictures.  I really liked the picture of the fresh strawberry sundae! Fresh locally grown strawberries are in season here, and they are appearing on menus while they’re available.

We made it back to the B and B, rested up a bit, got cleaned up and starting thinking about food again.  Since we had already done the fondue thing offered at the B and B last night, we decided we wanted something different tonight.  The only problem was, this B and B is a bit of a way from town, and the road into town is not suitable for bikes.  The owner offered to arrange a taxi to take us to dinner, and Jimmy did an online search and found a place he thought we’d like.

The taxi ride was fast! Though we were just a few miles from the restaurant, he got us there in record time.  We were seated at the restaurant by Max.  He was extremely nice and asked where we were from, was this our first time here, etc.  He told us the restaurant occupies an old building that used to belong to one of the early settlers of the town.  It served as a home from 1880 until the young chef (25 years old at the time) purchased it and opened up the restaurant.  When Max found out we were from Kentucky, he told us his favorite basketball team was UK, that certainly made us like him that much more!

The menu was extensive and he took a great deal of time translating it into English, and explaining how the chef would prepare each item.  We’ve seen some very uncommon entrees listed on the menus in Canada. Probably common for here, but not common in the States.  And we’ve tried some of them, Jimmy ate wild boar on our first night here, but I’m not as adventurous when it comes to some of the wild game that is common here.

Max described an item that caught my interest as “Beaver Tail”.  He said it has a chewy crusty bread base, topped with prosciutto, thinly sliced beets, etc.  He said it is almost like a pizza. That sounded good to me, as long as it wasn’t actually beaver tail.  When he came back around, after giving us a few minutes to make up our minds, I just had to double check.  Jimmy placed his order of poutine (the chef’s special creation using sweet potatoes and a variety of seafood) and I really wanted the pizza, but not if it was on a beaver tail!!  When he looked to me for my order, I said, “I’d really like to try the beet and prosciutto pizza, but it’s not really a beaver tail is it?”  Max smiled and said, “Ma’am, if I served you a beaver tail, you’d be chewing until 11:00 pm, and then you would give up and say, oh, well…”. He said, “it is not really a beaver tail, it just has the shape of a beaver tail because of the crusty bread”. We all three enjoyed a good laugh out of that.  The food was delicious and it was very reasonable for the chef inspired menu. We enjoyed every bite, down to the dessert and cafe au lait!  Another even faster taxi ride back to the B and B concluded our day. Jusqu’a demain! (Until tomorrow)